Treasury Minister, Alfred Cannan has launched a series of new initiatives as part of the Manx Government’s Economic Recovery Programme.
The package was unveiled at a specially convened media conference at the Manx Museum, and contained the following measures:
Working Loan Capital Agreement Scheme opens to provide Island businesses with up to £10m support
Isle of Man Government officially opened applications for the Coronavirus Business Working Capital Loan Agreement (‘WLCA’) on Monday, which provides Isle of Man businesses with a further method of COVID-19 financial support.
The scheme provides up to £10million of working capital lending to local businesses who have been adversely affected by COVID-19, and has been created in direct response to the financial challenges facing businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The WCLA forms part of a wider catalogue of financial support provided by the Isle of Man Government, which includes the Disruption Loan Guarantee Agreement (DLGA); launched in April of this year, following the initial outbreak of coronavirus. The Working Capital Loan Agreement is specifically for businesses that cannot access working capital via their banks and provides a further safety net for those businesses who cannot access working capital via their banks or do not qualify for assistance via the DLGA.
The agreement is supported by Conister Bank and Santander International, and provides loans of up to £250,000 with Isle of Man Government-backed guarantees for 100% of the loan.
Alfred Cannan, MHK, Treasury Minister, commented: ‘We understand that many businesses are still struggling financially as a result of the pandemic and it is important that we continue to support those businesses who need to access financial support and lending. The support of this scheme from both Conister Bank and Santander is very welcome, and shows a significant commitment to the Island’s business community.’
James Geldart, Managing Director of Santander International Isle of Man, added: ‘We are proud to be participating in the Working Capital Loan Arrangements to assist local businesses during this challenging time. This marks our entrance into the sector on the Island and we look forward to expanding our SME proposition in the near future.’
Douglas Grant, Managing Director of Conister Bank, stated: ’As the Island’s only local bank, we remain committed to helping the island’s businesses and people both directly and in conjunction with the government through these difficult times.’
The Working Capital Loan Agreement Scheme is now in place and businesses who are interested in applying for capital under the scheme should contact either Conister or Santander International:
Conister Bank: https://www.conisterbank.co.im
Santander International: https://www.santanderinternational.co.uk
Manx ‘Re-Start’ Scheme Developed to Provide Support for Unemployed
A new scheme to help Isle of Man individuals who have been unemployed for three months or more is being developed by Isle of Man Government.
The Economic Recovery Programme, which was launched following Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK’s announcement of a £100million fund to support the Isle of Man’s economic recovery post-COVID19, highlights ‘Our People’ as a key focus area for recovery activity.
Whilst unemployment has been consistently falling since the coronavirus peak earlier this year, an overall rise in local unemployment has been evidenced as a result of the pandemic. There are currently approximately 881 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, with 235 (27%) under 25, 287 (33%) over 50 and 548 (24%) having been unemployed for more than three months.
The Manx Re-Start Scheme will last for 12 months and aims to support 120 new work placements throughout the 52 week period. Government intends to subsidise salary and National Insurance costs for private sector firms to a maximum of 70% of the living wage. The scheme will be open to those who have been unemployed or in receipt of MERA for three months or more.
Alfred Cannan MHK, Minister for Treasury, said: ‘The Isle of Man has experienced significant challenges to our economy and to the health and wellbeing of our people and our community. This scheme is not just about restarting our Island’s economy, it is an opportunity to help many of our people who could otherwise be at a high risk of long term unemployment. I encourage all of our businesses, organisations and industries to work together with us to open the doors for many individuals and ensure the Isle of Man bounces back stronger as a nation.’
Alongside the financial support available to employers, individuals will be offered mentorship and ongoing support during the placement and further details on the administration of the scheme will be announced in due course.
The scheme will be subject to Tynwald approval in October, and if approved will go live thereafter. Further details about this scheme and how to apply will be released at that time.
£0.5 million Domestic Events Fund announced to encourage the creation of local events island-wide
Business Isle of Man, an Executive Agency of the Department for Enterprise, has announced a new £500,000 Domestic Events Fund to support local authorities, businesses, individuals and charities island-wide with the development of local events.
The initiative is supported under the £100m Economic Recovery Fund announced by Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK in his budget update to July’s Tynwald.
The new fund is intended to support increased domestic spending over the autumn/ winter period, running up to the 31st March 2020. Event organisers can apply for up to 80% of costs associated with the development of new, domestic focused events. Eligible events such as local markets, festivals, shows, concerts must be focussed on increasing domestic spending, in turn supporting local businesses with their coronavirus recovery. Qualifying costs include equipment, entertainment, marketing, insurance, health and safety, and an event organiser.
Political Member with responsibility for Business Isle of Man, Lawrie Hooper MHK, commented: ‘I’m extremely pleased to announce the launch of the Domestic Events Fund as a new initiative to stimulate and support our domestic economy. The loss of a number of large
Island events has resulted in a very difficult time for many businesses, and they are now facing the traditionally quieter winter season with lower than expected financial reserves.
Business Isle of Man is working closely with Town and Village Commissioners across the Island to bring forward a number of events and I encourage any organisation interested in running a public event to take a look at this new fund. Community events are an opportunity to promote local products and local destinations as well as providing a great stimulus for local businesses by boosting footfall. We hope these events will help support local businesses affected by the coronavirus lockdown and border closures as well as giving people a chance to experience all that the Island has to offer.’
Tim Cowsill, Head of Business Isle of Man, added: ‘For many towns and villages, local events play a key part of their strategy to bring in visitors and increase spending in retail and hospitality businesses. With ongoing travel restrictions, many Island residents are choosing to make the most of staycation experiences and remain on the Isle of Man. This therefore provides an opportunity to encourage these individuals to explore the island, travelling to different towns and villages for special events and experiences, in turn increasing their domestic spending throughout the Island.
‘We look forward to working together with Town and Village commissioners across the Island to bring forward a number of new events over the coming months’
Further information about the fund and how businesses, local authorities, individuals and charities can apply will be available next week from
Roll-out for Island’s ultrafast broadband accelerated from five years to four years
Isle of Man Government has committed funds to accelerate the roll out of ultrafast fibre broadband to pass 99% of homes by one year.
Preparatory work has already started in nearly 14,000 homes and business premises with 20% of those already fully connected to the network. Properties in Gansey were the first to come on stream and areas currently under construction include Glen Auldyn, Sulby, Derbyhaven and Ballakilpheric.
Within the next six months, fibre is also due to be laid in Baldrine, Colby Glen, Colby Village, Douglas and the Whitebridge.
To ensure the majority of Island residents have more opportunity to access fast, reliable internet, the Island’s National Broadband Plan was accelerated from an initial target of five years to four years.
The acceleration of the plan has come at the same time as the Island jumping up in worldwide broadband speed rankings from 63rd to 40th place in 2019-20 and rising above the UK and Ireland.
Earlier this year, Manx Telecom was awarded a £10 million contract to deliver ultrafast fibre broadband in nine intervention zones across the Island.
The zones are remote, difficult to reach areas where around 25% of premises and homes are located and, typically, where providing high speed broadband services is likely to be commercially unviable.
The ambitious initiative, outlined in the National Telecoms Strategy was unanimously approved by Tynwald in October 2018. The acceleration of the National Broadband Plan as part of the strategy is one of many initiatives to be supported under the £100 million Economic Recovery Fund that was announced by Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK in his budget update to July’s Tynwald.
Political Member with responsibility for Digital Isle of Man, Daphne Caine MHK, explained
‘Keeping our Island connected is an absolute priority for the Department and forms part of the Isle of Man Government’s wider economic recovery; a vision which allows us not just to rebuild after COVID-19 but that also better enables local business to grow and develop.
‘As well as supporting enhanced online services which align with the Government’s carbon neutrality policy, it further promotes more widespread remote working, which has been proven over the recent months to be not just required, but essential to the way we work.
‘By accelerating the plan from five years to four, we can move towards a high speed, fully connected future for the Island even quicker and reach 75% of homes within three years. It is encouraging to see the work progressing so well and around the Island in equal measure at such pace.’
Around 35% of Island properties can already access ultrafast fibre broadband via licensed operators.
For more information visit the dedicated National Broadband Information webpage:
Isle of Man Government Invests in Island’s Future skills and education opportunities
Additional training and educational opportunities are to be made available to Island residents, as part of the Economic Recovery Programme which was announced by Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK in his July budget update.
To date, the wide range of initiatives aimed at training and support for people on the Island has included subjects such as science and humanities, through new Access to Higher Education courses, GCSE and Functional skills in English and Maths and places on initial teacher training amongst a range of other subjects.
A flexible tailored programme of learning will begin with immediate effect and also includes an expansion in the range of apprenticeships and higher education programmes.
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK commented:
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the most significant challenge to our economy, our education and to our health and wellbeing for a generation. Yet it is how we respond to that challenge that is even more critical to ensure the Isle of Man continues to be an Island of enterprise and opportunity.
‘Through the Economic Recovery Programme, Isle of Man Government is committed to investing in our people by expanding the opportunities for developing core skills, providing paid training and delivering qualifications and skills that are in demand in our economy and that will help people find employment opportunities in the long term.
The funding is available to provide new courses and to increase places on existing courses at UCM.
This will provide a ‘By creating these new and extended offerings, the overarching aim is to enable people to make progress in their careers and in their lives and to support the Isle of Man’s economic recovery and future sustainability.’
Jo Pretty, Principal of UCM added: ‘COVID-19 has impacted on numerous businesses and individuals on the Island. Education and training are key tools which can support the Isle of Man’s economic stability during these times, by helping to develop the appropriate skills required to support local businesses, which, at the same time, can transform people’s lives by assisting them to achieve their job aspirations.’
The funding so far has also supported some apprentices, who are now able to continue with their apprenticeship programmes. We aim to have further widening participation activity in the community to support wellbeing and a new exciting internship programme through a ‘Learning Company’ model, details of which will be out soon.
Julie Bradley, programme leader for the Economic Recovery Programme’s ‘Our People’ work stream explained: ‘This is very much looking at the bigger picture as it can offer appropriate skills required to help local businesses, which, at the same time, can transform people’s lives by assisting them to achieve their job aspirations. It can also be especially beneficial for those who have changes in circumstances arising from the pandemic.
‘We must all play a part in the Island’s economic recovery and, as certain services see a requirement for growth, there is a genuine need to engage with professionals from industry to find out which areas need additional support. Funding for the retraining of adults who find themselves requiring re-skilling or up-skilling and backing employers or enterprise is an essential part of that. I anticipate there being a genuine interest and uptake on what is being offered.’
For more information and a list of the opportunities on offer, please contact 648200 or visit www.ucm.ac.im
Summer Internship Programme matches over 100 Manx students with local businesses
The Summer Internship Programme led by Business Isle of Man, an Executive Agency of the Department for Enterprise, has matched over 100 Manx students with businesses across the Isle of Man.
The programme for individuals aged 18 -25 was one of the first initiatives to be supported under the £100m Economic Recovery Fund that was announced by Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK in his budget update to July’s Tynwald.
The internship programme provided full wage support at a weekly rate of £256 per week for businesses, third sector and other organisations. Organisations were matched with young people and students who are looking to gain real world work experience, build their CV and develop interpersonal skills.
Overall the programme received 259 student applications and 112 business hosts seeking support with 161 projects.
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK, commented: ‘I’m thoroughly delighted with the success of the departments Summer Internship Programme. As a government, we stand ready to invest in our economy, in our people, in our Island and in our future, of which this initiative is a prime example of this in action.
The programme has not only provided direct opportunities for over 100 young people to improve their employability and skills for the future, but has supported local businesses with much needed resource to help with specific projects or coronavirus recovery work.’
Nick Venables, Intern at Island Escapes said:‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Island Escapes as a Property and Marketing Assistant. Graduating from university this summer, the scheme has enabled me to refine my skills in a real-life environment of my chosen field, alongside helping me to develop personal characteristics, such as confidence in customer relations and self- efficiency. In particular, I’m really pleased to have helped Island Escapes to develop an email marketing strategy as part of my internship which will act as a key feature of their communications moving forward as it enables the business to build their database and stakeholder engagement.
‘Overall, I’ve found the programme greatly beneficial and anticipate it has made me a more competitive candidate in a challenging climate, which will no doubt prove to be beneficial in the future.’
The programme is now closed to new applications from individuals and business hosts, with final work underway by the agency to match as many outstanding compatible applications received before the deadline.